Victor-Farmington Rotary Club (New York, US, District 7120) has been an active participant in the Rotary Youth Exchange Programme for 40 years.
The first Rotary exchange student hosted by the club was Jane Mansfield, of Perth, Australia, in 1978-79. The club has remained active during the 2016-17 year, hosting an exchange student from India and sponsoring a local student for a year in Denmark.
The club’s currently hosting Guarev Revankar, of India. He is attending Victor Senior High School. Revankar recently made a presentation to the club and discussed his home country of India. He said that India with a population of more than 1.25 billion people is the second most populous country in the world.
The country is comprised of 29 states and seven union territories. The capital is Delhi, and Hindi is the national language. He pointed out that English is the second language of India and most people are bilingual.
A wide range of topics were covered in the presentation including the history of the country, significance of the national flag, the background of numerous Indian festivals, the cuisine of the country and public transportation in a heavily populated country.
His slide programme offered examples of various types of clothing popular in India including the sari worn by Indian women.
Revankar ended his presentation by having club members participate in a yoga exercise.
The Rotary club is sponsoring Carli Vanmaaren, of Farmington, as a Rotary exchange student in Denmark. She has completed seven months of the 10-month programme and will be returning home in July before starting her college education at John Carroll University in Cleveland.
Vanmaaren reported that the Rotary youth exchange programme has helped her develop many friendships with her Danish friends and classmates as well as the other foreign Rotary exchange students who participate in the programme.
One of her new friends is Mackenzie, of Australia, who recently arrived in Denmark. Vanmaaren said newly arrived exchange students are known as “newbies,” and it is customary for those exchange students who have been in the programme for several months to help the new arrivals adjust to the experience.
She is now helping Mackenzie adjust to her new life in Denmark. She is providing the same level of support and guidance she received when she arrived seven months ago.
Vanmaaren was recently requested to speak to two classes of students in her Danish school about the difference between life as a teenager in the USA versus Denmark. Her newly acquired fluency in the Danish language was an asset in making these presentations.
A Danish tradition that she recently has experienced is vinterbadning, or bathing outdoors in the sea or a pool of cold water. Those who successfully can remain in the frigid water for 30 seconds are allowed to call themselves a viking. Vanmaaren is now a viking.